Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  July 18, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

10:00 am
reality that the legal infrastructure no one was a barrier to that comment meant that a significant number of african-americans lost that sense of skepticism about holding those principles in mind against the reality that people are experiencing. so my generation unlike my parents generation were not handed the kind of critical sensibility that had always been heart of the journey that have been thinsulate person, had been sharecroppers sensibility had been the early civil rights activist understanding that they as lawyers, privilege educated black people have an obligation to make sure that the coach was living up to its possibilities. ..
10:01 am
in terms of generationally did not prepare us for the work that needs to happen today. that's the critique i was making about trading on individual success without a sense of social responsibility. >> who are your parents? >> my parents are both retired professionals. one was a school teacher and administrator of the chicago public schools for 35 years and my father recently retired was photojournalist. he worked for johnson johnson publishing in the early days, "charlotte observer," news day,
10:02 am
for past 20 years, "new york times" staff photographer. >> are they retired from new york. >> my mother always lived in chicago. my parent were divorced when i was young. my father lived in new york for over 30 years. >> what is your lineage? >> the famous part of my lineage, the part i know as opposed to distantly, i'm great-grandson of the founder of elijah mohammed founder of nation of islam. my mother never converted but very much formative to my early years my first cousins aunts and uncles all very much part of their grandfather and father's legacy. and i was very much part of that as a child. >> and why was that formative? >> formative in the way that any child who is part of a family
10:03 am
that means something to people you recognize early on that people see you differently. so i had conversations with adults being the great-grandson of with adults being great-grandson of elijah my halted. where culture transcends to famous people. i had sensibilities that were cultivated as a result of coming from a family with this background. so those were all formative. what may be counterintuitive to folks that i was not taught anything special with regard to the nation of islam than say any member the nation at the time. i was not being groomed to be a successor. in fact my great-uncle started a separate movement of sunni islam
10:04 am
while his father was still alive, was very controversial. he in some way embodied the family legacy one generation removed. didn't trickle down to my generation including my first cousins. the analogy i use is the preacher kids are often times one raising the most hell in the church as opposed being the one following in their father's or mother's footsteps. >> all that said what is malcolm x's role here at the schomburg center, if any? >> he is a major part of our commitment to celebrating the contributions of african-americans who have articulated in courageous terms the black experience. he his collection is absolutely one of our most significant collections. it has been with us for about 10 years and annually we have
10:05 am
programing to commemorate his birth and his assassination. and these are usually focused within muslim communities both foreign-born immigrant and american because those communities still look to the legacy of malcolm x to help understand the world. we had a terrific one this year that brought people who met malcolm x in lebanon and cairo in 1964 looking at sort of his world perspective at the time. >> schomburg center sponsors the harlem book fair every year. >> that's right. we do this in collaboration with max rodriguez who is founder of harlem book fair. but as venue more than 15 years the schomburg center has been home of the harlem book fair. we've been proud of it. we have seen thousands of people threw our doors and wonderful programs aired on c-span of new authors and famous folks. >> khalil muhammad, in a lot of
10:06 am
interviews you've done writings you've done you talk about education. i want to read a quote and have you further explain this the only way to get a coherent message is that you train everybody based on common set of reads and understanding what the problem is so that everyone buys into that kind of message. do you remember saying that? >> i don't. i'm a little bit curious because is probably in a specific context, yeah. so, if i'm talking about young people it's, what we do in the junior scholars program. so they'll read a common text for example. in years past they red the autobiography of malcolm x. they read slave narratives. they read congressman john lewis's graphic novel called march, and i think they read march too this year because it
10:07 am
just came out. depending which the coat was articulated the same way columbia has core curriculum in terms of cannon and core history which you build a base of knowledge and find your voice in response to this sort of cannon. >> if you were to build a core curriculum would what be in it? >> i wish i could be as fluent in designing curriculum in this context. so i'm a history booster. i think it is critical that people understand the past in the way that professional historians articulate it. there are all sorts of historical narratives that circulate in our public or popular discourse. bill o'reilly, for example publishes history books. i don't count those in the core curriculum what i'm talking about. edmund morgan wrote a book, american slavery american
10:08 am
freedom which that slavery was aberrational. it was the great exception to the american project. morgan famously as harvard professor described this period precisely for what many historians would not agree slavery was essential to the project of both defining what slavery and freedom were and as well shaping the limits of democracy, which are still a work in progress. so that would be one book, for example. james baldwin is terrific writer and someone for home the schomburg center has special connection to. i would make sure "the fire" next time was read at the schomburg center. declaration of independence because no work of literature in the u.s. context and no work of history is not in conversation with those core ideals articulated by the founding fathers. peter, you are stretching the limits of my curriculum
10:09 am
development on camera. why don't we stop there for now. >> that was pretty good for off-the-cuff. if somebody wanted to come in and read james baldwin's personal papers or maya angelou personal papers could think come into the schomburg center around request that? >> yes they could. we are we have the definitive home of maya angelou's collection. james baldwin currently we only have correspondence between him and his brother. his collection remains in the possession of the estate and one day we hope to get it. but even the collection of correspondence between david baldwin and james baldwin is revealing and important to scholarship around baldwin. >> dr. muhammad. you're also an author? >> yes. >> what books? >> my only published book at this time is called "the condemnation of blackness, race, crime, of modern america." >> working on the second one quite a while.
10:10 am
>> i have had administrative and fund-raising responsibilities. they made it difficult to forge ahead. i start ad second project. i have done a lot of research. i published an article from it. the second book is called disappearing acts the edge of white criminality in the age of jim crow. >> are you surprised by the past year in race relations? >> yes, i am. i'm surprised both in the way in which there have been callous shootings of unarmed people that seem to come one after the other. these are not new phenomena obviously. but, we would think that in a nation that is saturated with media, and commentary that we might see behavioral changes so that what happened in staten
10:11 am
island might have limited the possibility that walter scott was shot in his back. in charleston, south carolina or might have impacted the circumstances of freddie gray's death ride in baltimore just a few weeks ago. so i'm surprised that the high-profile nature of these moments seems not to have had a effect on changing police behavior around the country to the point where people are frustrated and more focused on organizing and changing the system than i have seen in my lifetime as an adult. >> to put it in some historical perspectives, this has been atypical year? >> oh, yeah. no it's been atype call. i think the most significant
10:12 am
measure of its atypicality, is the involvement and investment of the department of justice in responding immediately to episodes of controversial police shootings. so what starts literally for this moment i would say for the last 12 month period with the ferguson investigation dovetails into a philadelphia department of justice investigation and the most recent calls for is, i'm sorry, a reporting on a cleveland doj reporting. so consent decrease have fallen on newark's police department in the last 12 months. we've not seen this kind of department of justice engagement in local polices matters since the civil rights movement. >> would this have happened, do you think doj would have been this involved if we didn't have
10:13 am
a black attorney general and black president. >> you interview enough historians we shy away from the counterfactual. who knows. one could argue it is more important that there is a democrat in the white house than a republican given the way the republican party treated matters of criminal justice until quite recently with bipartisan efforts led in georgia or by koch brothers or rand paul, senator from kentucky. so i do think that eric holder matters more to the commitment and willingness of using doj resources to investigate local policing matters than say the presence of a black man in the white house or president obama in particular. >> notice the book on your desk. we're sitting here in your office -- >> on my desk, it hasn't been read yet so you can't ask me. >> why you ask about the title and why on your desk and to be read file.
10:14 am
the loneliness of the black republican. >> yes. written by leah rigur a new professor at harvard kennedy school. it is terrific and i started reading it. it is representative of a new field of scholarship, modern political history that tries to unpack the origins of the new right, starting in the 1970s and some other gators. kevin cruz wrote this period on atlanta. matthew lassiter wrote about it in charlotte. this is really very recent modern u.s. history and her work looks at the experience of african-americans who were appointed by republicans starting with richard nixon or, were republican candidates or, served in office such as senator edward brook. and really asks some interesting questions about the republican party of that time period, those
10:15 am
pioneers. clifford alexander, whose daughter elizabeth alexander is a terrific poet and wrote a memoir and at yale. clifford alexander was a republican appointee. looks at those individuals not through the lens of the current focus on the republican party but looks through the lens of their actual politics and ideology. their commitment to making real the promises of the civil rights movement for the african-american community. yes, much more pro-business. much more friendly to transactional politics meaning we're going to work with the politicians, be they republicans or independents interested in helping black people. less beholden to the democratic party but they had an approach to civil rights post-civil rights, meaning after the movement that makes today's democrat looks like the liberal republicans that most of them
10:16 am
were. if that makes sense. >> khalil mohammed who are some of the contrary african-american writers that you admire? >> looks at history of the model minority which is terrific. farrah griffin, comparative lit ative scholar. looks at black women's experiences in the interwar period. i just read a book about ethel morris a pioneering journalist for the "chicago defender" written by james morris which was a terrific read. i just read a couple of dissertations. [laughter]. so my read something very -- my reading is very broad. >> you've been quoted as saying
10:17 am
you want to make smart sexy again. >> yeah, well i'm i'm in the smart business so, in any line of work you want your market to expand and grow and be relevant and important. i think that, i'm going to borrow louis lafam that he wrote in harper's couple years ago where he said americans have an amazing propensity for grand simplification. what he meant by that is that americans don't like the complexity of the past and they tend to jettison the complexity of the past for simple ways of understanding things. to quote him directly he said that uses of american history for example, how they engage the past is usually to underwrite wars or to blow bubbles on
10:18 am
wall street, to quote lewis lapham. he is calling for us all to be a lot smarter about the world that we've inherited and the world we might want to live in. and that requires us to wrestle with complexity to wrestle with the messiness of the past and be patient with our learning to be patient with our learning. in that sense i agree with him and i want to make that sexy. i want to make people want to appreciate reading, as i do non-fiction history books which are not nearly the best-sellers that count for great fiction writing. i'm actually reading, it's funny, i'm thinking about another book i'm reading is tone anymorerieses's, he has a new book out, god bless the child. i have not read that. i want to hear a early tony morrison in my head. she has this amazing body offing
10:19 am
work which i read most of her books. in this instance we're talking about a racial identity in this country for all sorts of reasons including pressures of black migration, immigration into this country, changing nature of who black people are in america who are increasingly foreign-born or children of the foreign-born. that is book that popped in my head. >> as a father of three children are you satisfied with what they're learning about u.s. history in school? >> no. my kids go to public school. my son, whose curriculum i know best, he is now a freshman in high school. my wife's also on the school board of our community. so i i get to see and hear the concerns of a swath of parents in that community. they do a lot of reading and there is a lot of great literature. my son is reading fahrenheit 451
10:20 am
right now, but they don't do as much with the complexity of history as i would like to see as a trained historian. listen for a long time i was on the receiving end of what we do in our classrooms and so i knew what freshmen or sophomores, what kinds of basic historical knowledge they had. whether or not they were reading books i would have assigned in high school or grade school never mind the fact that they were not well-versed in terms of what we call social studies in primary grades as they should be. so i'm not that aside, my son does not read enough quality history, does not read enough quality non-fiction that isn't scholastic distillation of last week's news. there is a lot more literature focus which is terrific there needs to be much more non-fiction history taught and students should be required to read it in school. >> what are some of your favorite exhibits here at the
10:21 am
schomburg? >> we did a wonderful show on bearden, the great american collagist, who was a contrary of jacob lawrence and -- contemporary of jacob lawrence whose works are around the world including the met and schomburg. that was a favorite show for a fine art show at schomburg. we did a gordon park show that looked at photography of one of america's greatest fine arts and documentary photographers who got his start working in the new deal administration of roosevelt and later worked for "time" magazine. we've also done terrific shows looking at early today tear types, early forms of photography going back to the 18 '50s antebellum african-americans here in new york and other parts of the country who took to self-portraits for purposes of telling their own story and
10:22 am
challenging stereotypes showing they were people whose humanity should be respected and should be captured in their best light. we did a great motown show. collaborated with the motown museum in detroit and brought original artifacts, including marvin gaye's "what's going on" and diana ross and supremes dresses. that is highlight of one of the shows we've done. we recently had a rare book collection focused on a new acquisition of slavery tire for the study of transatlantic slavery. it represents the most significant individual gift the schomburg sent irhas ever received, 400 rare books items related to the abolition of the slave trade in the earl 18th and 19th century and endowment gift to celebrate programs and conferences here
10:23 am
forever. we also put on display items from the lupitsa collection. >> why don't you show us some current sixths. >> sure. look forward it. >> dr. mohammed, where are we headed? >> the gallery named for one. earliest libraries in schomburg. con-ed helped to support the renovations. >> what do we have showing here? >> this is a documentary of, that was completed in 1970. it was aired on television of the selma movement led by dr. king in 1965. this particular footage represents a number of outtakes because we have the entire footage of the original event and the documentary was of course edited for television. this represents some of the collections that have tremendous research value at the schomburg
10:24 am
center because you're seeing aspects of this movement that may not have been as meaningful in 1970 as they would be now. we wanted to sort of look at the scale of people in churches and zero in on the parishioners because obviously dr. king is going to demand most of our attention but what the viewer is trying to figure out what was the average age of the marchers in those movements and people supporting king? well we have footage in the wide shots you get to see a lot more people participating. >> 100 years from now is dr. king growing to be a footnote or is he going to be a major figure? >> dr. king will always be a major figure because he will always represent the best of the american tradition which is that the individual has the capacity to literally change the world. that is what the american dream is built on. that core notion of individualism that king embodies that better than anybody, but his individualism was used in service of the greater good.
10:25 am
dr. king will always be with us. >> let's continue our tour. what do you want to show us here? moving image in recorded sound. >> we have five collections, the moving image in is, think about the five-year-old who first of all never seen an album before. these are artifacts in a way that 20 years wouldn't be such a big deal but in the digital world are a big deal. secondly the art that is demonstrated here is itself a form of historical preservation. see the way the cover art speaks to the vision of the musicians and artists who created it. we have everything from richard wright's black boy being read by brock peters. >> who is brock peters? >> brock peters an actor for most famous in the starring role of "to kill a mockingbird," harper lee's -- >> this is entire work or
10:26 am
abridged version. >> abridged version. you only get 90 minutes on front and back. additionally ruby dewho grew up literally in the schomburg center, she passed last year. her album of reading black women and and ida wells anti-lynching activist, and signed by ruby de. what is not commonly known learned acting at the library at this place in a theater repertoire called the american negro theater. harry belafonte was there, ozzie davis were there and sidney poitier were all there. >> continuing to the tour. this all open to the public. >> all open to the public. >> alex haley. >> telling the black -- backstory of "roots". now interesting things with dubois, you're looking at that
10:27 am
thinking, my god how fascinating, never heard dubois's voice. well you could pull out your phone right now and it is on itunes. so we have the album yes but the world has access to the content of that album. >> is that a good thing. >> that is a good thing. >> why? >> it's a good thing because we want people to have access to this store of cultural production, of knowledge of information. so libraries are conduits. we are we both preserve. so imagine if we didn't have it. i don't know where itunes got the master copy but imagine 100 years from now there are going to be some things digitized that can't be reproduced anymore. so we're doing our part. >> does that lead to dumping down surfacing type of lift? >> sure. the fact that we can all key word search, i give you the classic example.
10:28 am
newspapers are wonderful sources for historical research. david mccullough could not write the books that he writes without having access to historical newspapers even from the colonial period. they're rich. they give you characterization of individuals. it is the stuff of making heroes and villains and even our historical narratives. but the bottom line is that the ease which we can key word search information strips us of the time it takes to search for things the old-fashioned way which produces serendipitously new kinds of information. you always find much more than when you're looking for when you don't key word search. >> who is langston hughes? >> langston hughes is the greatest black poet of all time and one of the world's greatest poets. his work here is read by ozzie davis. langston hughes is also someone
10:29 am
who for who years used this library and hadn't mat relationship with the libraries at the time, so much so, 25 years after his passing in 1967 he returned to this library which was started in the 1920s and permanently inturned his ashes are -- entered his ashes are part of the main floor of the lobby that is named for langston hughes here at the schomburg center. >> what's next? >> well here we are profiling a collection of children and junk adult literature that is part of gene blackwell hudson research division. this is an exhibition that responded to a concern that walter dean meyers articulated in "the new york times" back in 2013 where he said that only about 3% of the annual
10:30 am
publication of children and young adult literature featured black protagonists. out of 230 works, only 93 included black main characters. he passed as everyone knows recently. we wanted to celebrate not just walter dean meyers work but other young adult writers, including rene watson who won not rene watson, but jacqueline woodson to won the national book award this past year. she and rene watson, another young adult writer were here in conversation talking about the work. >> has the publishing industry been responsive to those concerns? >> i think it is too early to tell. and i don't think it keep track in those numbers the way meyers did invested in that industry but i think we have a lot more
10:31 am
work to do. this is the true of children of latino ancestry. there is continued reporting on the fact that a country that is becoming browner literally by the year where the majority population of younger people in this country are now today brac or brown that's already tipped over. we are not still seeing an explosion of literature to reflect their humanity. so we've got work to do. >> all right. what's next on our tour? >> we are going to head to our main exhibition hall and you will see representations of our fine art collection as well as our photography collection and manuscript collection. >> i've seen her name a couple times now. who is jean blackwell hudson? >> jean blackwell hudson was chief of the schomburg perp they
10:32 am
were called directors from 1948, wait for it, until 1980. a long time. 32 years. so she really helped to build this place. she was the third chief director that was some berg. lawrence reddick, first biographer of dr. martin luther king. publish ad biography in 1959. here from 1938 to 1948. >> what is the regard of that 1958 biography. >> david lewis said it was a good biography. he went on to write the first scholarly treatment of dr. martin luther king in 1975 or 1976. >> what is david lewis doing today. >> he is working on a book on wilkie. >> wendell wilkie? >> yep. >> how did he go there? >> he sees in wilkie a vision of republicanism that defied
10:33 am
categorization and had a real commitment to the kind of -- we've lost in this country. >> what was it like being david levering lewis's graduate student? >> he was intense. david was, is not only brilliant but also very demanding an his standards are incredibly high. so, i had to get caller i.d. in his first offing. it was brand new to telephone services because i was picking up the phone and he was on the other end asking me for my latest draft of chapter of my dissertation. i can't walk into this again. it is nerve-wracking. i could be better prepared when i saw david levering lewis. >> david levering lewis been on tv many times including three hour "in depth" program. go to booktv.org and you wan watch all three hours. why did we stop here? >> this is what we call the cost
10:34 am
mowgram. done by an artist that is homage to arturo some berg the inches should is named. some berg. langston hughes ashes are part of the floor as to the testament part of harlem and him. the literary world he helped define a institution of cultural lange ton hughes. continue to tell the story. >> this is the langston hughes auditorium where the harlem book fair takes place where booktv will be live this july. >> that's right. >> can we see this? this is something i forgot to mention. so the schomberg center recently
10:35 am
won the nation's highest honor given by institute for library services. the ceremony took place a few weeks ago at the white house. first lady presented the national medal to the schomburg center. along with nine other museums and libraries around the country. this happened during our 90th year, only makes it all the sweeter. we are very proud of this honor. >> congratulations. >> thank you. so we're heading up to what we call exhibition hall. it is also part of the original carnegie library known as the 135th street library. this library was built by mckee and white architectural firm in 1985. this is on historical registry for historical landmarks this is the original reading room where
10:36 am
schomburg himself worked and his collection was permanently encased in this room in ornate curilals that lined the walls. he always mentioned that the it was more than books. the schomburg library at time was in cahoots with the harmon foundation for their commitment to raising the visibility of black visual artist. >> in good cahoots. >> in good cahoots, that's right. there is no understanding of the schomburg library that isn't as expansive as possible. it was always about more than just the books. so this exhibition, celebrates the breadth of the collection in bringing together a photography collection manuscript collection and rare book items as well as our fine art collection. >> khalil muhammad, you have a
10:37 am
building here off 1235th and lennox and where do you store all the items. >> all over the place. this is 75,000 square foot complex. it represents three buildings brought together. all the books we ever purchased including schomburg's are still here on site. the manuscripts however live both on site and off site. that is true of the art and artifact collection as well as moving image and sound collection. >> you're not telling us where. >> oh. some of it is in sources in harlem. some in a shared facility called recap which is collaboration of new york public librariry columbia and princeton university which sits in new jersey. >> what are we looking at in here now? >> so this is a show inspired by the hashtag, black lives matter. we called it black lives matter. it is a curator's choice show. not unlike what we saw in the
10:38 am
other gallery. each curator was asked to focus on a part of their collection that one, had not been seen in some time if ever, and two would help to contribute to, as an expansive, a vision of black humanity as possible at a time where we felt that the conversation might even be too reducktive, too much about survival. too much about the sheer need to focus on the criminal justice system. so we know the political work that is necessary there is absolutely essential but we also want to remind everyone that walks through our doors, from european tourists to white new yorkers and new jerseyians or black residents of harlem or the bronx that black people are bigger than the sum of their tragedies and losses. so this show wrestles with all of that, both the good and the bad. complexity and expressions of humanity.
10:39 am
>> did you come up with the name of the theme of the show after this past year? >> oh, sure. this show was in, was inspired by in that sense the events, particularly that focused on ferguson and staten island when this show was coming into existence. >> what do you want to show us? >> well, i want to show you in looking at this case, you see some of the treasures of our manuscript collection. so here we have james baldwin who is writing a letter to maya angelou and he is complaining about having done a project with margaret mead called a wrap on race. he is little bit annoyed he doesn't think the project will be very good. so he is sounding off with his good friend maya angelou. >> dear, dear sister marvelous to hear from you. i didn't imagine i love hearing from a solid funkky no --
10:40 am
friend. >> you have to love that. >> 1970. >> there is image of maya angelou. another person who connects with my, i learned from my grandmother, married the son of ely yaw muhammad, the apartment where elaine hands bury grew up. i didn't learn that until a couple years ago when my grand mother passed. one of the most famous black playwrites in american history,. >> she was a lesbian. >> she was a lesbian, that's right. has very much been the focus of a kind of renewed interest in her work partly because she is a lesbian. but also because the issues of integration, black mobility of place. the story of ferguson is also a story of suburbanization.
10:41 am
what did it look like in the 21st century. in raisin in the sun talks of moving to predominantly white community. there are still echoes here. >> what is a significance of "a raisin in "the sun"." why did it become a cultural touchstone? >> it was timely and brilliant and positioned a black family as multitextured. intergenerational and also traditional. it brought you inside of a nuclear black family in a way that were pathologiesed or caricatured in much of american literature popular in american culture. it didn't shy away from the difficulties of that family in dealing with the challenges of stigma, of inequality and of race in general. >> continuing the tour. >> sure.
10:42 am
so this is kind of interesting story, a really great story actually. so currently, as i mentioned to you, part of the breadth of the collection includes an amazing fine art collection and represents really the cannon of brash visual artists. just about a year-and-a-half ago a gentleman from the bronx reached out to the curator of the art and artifacts division and said i want to give the schomburg a jacob lawrence she said well, we'll com check it out. this was purchased by that gentleman's father in 1941 with the original bill of sale of $125 on the back of this panel. what makes this more interesting this panel was done during the same year that jacob law rinse great migration series was finished. that series is now on exhibition in the collaboration with the phillips at the moma here in new york where all 60 panels of the great migration series have
10:43 am
come together. and jacob lawrence himself, now here's the thing. not only do we have perhaps an orphaned panel from that series haven't proven it yet. we're working to try to match the paint with moma's collaboration but jacob lawrence actually used the library in the 1930s when he moved here as a young man from atlantic city. he studied reading the books in the schomburg center collection which gave him the information that i needed to tell the great migration story that i tells in his famous series. talk about importance of books and preservation of libraries open to all jacob lawrence is a product of the early influence of the schomburg collection. >> that painting probably more more than $125. >> twelve worth more than $125 yes, as is the rest of the series. >> all right. all the photos on the wall.
10:44 am
>> richard saunders is one of the most prolific black photographers of the late 20th century. he worked for major publications but particularly for the u.s. is -- usia. u.s. information agency that was part of our shall we say cold war apparatus? in surveying post-colonial nations, in keeping an eye on things. so this is sort of the benign side of the cia. published in top pick magazine. richard saunders was a photographer. here he is taking a picture of james brown in lagos, nigeria in 19p 70. he has expansive body of work and we have the entire collection. it meets description of the show which is lesser known images across the continents starting from pittsburgh to nigeria. it is pretty fabulous show.
10:45 am
there are images of malcolm x for example, or elijah muhammad are rarely seen what people find with a google search for example. >> let's make sure to see that ely yaw muhammad photo -- elijah muhammad photo down here. thisthis is elijah muhammad at the end, right? >> he is down there with his wife. and that is malcolm x. >> that is malcolm x. >> this is 1961 shot in washington d.c. with a church of god figure solomon delate e bating the merits of christianity and islam. >> must have been quite a debate. >> it must have been quite a debate. >> do you think we could have that debate today? >> i think we're having that debate today. it is taking place on a global scale. yeah, we are having it. it is not, you know, polite and
10:46 am
in front of cameras, well it is in front of cameras. so, yes we're having that debate. >> off we go. >> show you one other i think really fascinating image of malcolm x. part of richard saunders's collection. here he is, he is on a tour at the museum of natural history in new york in 1961 and he is essentially using the image of an african woman to talk about black people in a broader context to a group of young muslim girls. and this is also fascinating because here we are talking about the dubois and this is a history lesson being taught to young people in a harlem school in 1961. >> negro historian. >> and sociologist. >> sociologist. where are we headed? >> we are headed in one of the
10:47 am
reading rooms of the schomburg where our special collections are held. we have real treasures as part of this checkion. we're honored to have this work. >> let's work our way down. >> sure. >> okay if the camera gets in relatively tight? >> camera can get in tight. as you can tell this is an old book. turns out that this book is 200 years older than our country it was published in latin verse in 1573 by juan latino, a man of african descent in grenada spain. he had been enslaved. he was emancipated. became a scholar of grammar and published this book. this is one of schomburg's prized possessions as part of his original collection that came to the schomburg center and comes in our rare book collection. >> i notice you handle this without the white gloves curator's often use?
10:48 am
>> yeah. we are not as, what is the word particular about that even though we care deeply about the collections. part of it is, that these materials are in the service of learning. and as much as we take great pride in preservation. we make sure the books are in proper conditions, i'm not going to do any long-term damage to the book by picking it up and turning a few pages. so. >> can anyone come see this book? >> anyone can see the book. if they happen to read latin then all the better. >> good. familiar name to the a lot of people. richard wright. >> richard wright. this is his first major novel. this book, "native sun" published in 1948 put richard wright on the map in a big way because he was wrestling with some of the deep issues of poverty, how to fix them and resolve them in a novelists hands n this case, this version first edition was signed, to the
10:49 am
schomburg collection by richard wright. that's pretty special in and of itself. but it is even more special that we have the manuscript of native son. so book one for all who know the book. and here are the manuscript pages with richard wright's edits, crossouts. punctuation, different words. this is for a literary scholar a gold mine. this is exactly what they need in order to understand the vision of the book and to see the difference between the final product and the editing process. >> khalil muhammad, do you have richard wright's entire collection here? >> we do not have richard wright's entire collection but we're proud to have the manuscript of "native son." >> do you know where his other records may be held? >> i do not know. but we can look it up. we're a liar blairry. [laughing] -- library.
10:50 am
>> all right. continuing our tour of a rare or manuscript segment. >> we know that one of the most celebrated works after -- of a woman writer and african-american writer who recently departed maya angelou, her first major run away best-seller, i know why the cage bird sings. this is the actual manuscript with her title there in faint pencil, caged bird inside of quotation marks. >> this is her handwriting. very neat handwriting. precise. >> this is her handwriting. this is her staple. here she is laying out the actual manuscript making her own edits and beginning to tell this transformative story. >> her archives are here at the schomburg? >> her archives are part of our permanent collection absolutely. >> and from maya angelou to,
10:51 am
to -- >> this is evocative of a recent moment explosion of slavery studies. several of which have appeared in the last couple of years and more particularly the steven mcqueen film, "12 years as a slave." this is the first years that inspired that film. this is the copy write page that i'm turning published in 1853. this is -- >> just got made into a movie couple years ago. >> that's right. so this work for the schomburg center was part of an early effort by arthur schomburg and his success to find books by black people in a time where ex-slave narratives or enslaved peoples writings were not
10:52 am
appreciated, were not valued. so once we got past the abolitionist movement past the civil war, books like this had very little value in the book world. and so arthur schomburg was able to capitalize this kind of work because it was inexpensive for a man who was very much lower middle class in terms of his income but very much part of a burgeoning black elite that was committed to this kind of cultural preservation. >> everything we've seen, if we walked in here today without a camera crew and without c-span credentials and said do you have maya angelou's collection, could we see this with the archive it? >> that's right. that's what we were built to do. this reading room is in the service of anyone uncredentialed wanting to have access to this material to write, to, to be inspired. to make documentary film.
10:53 am
whatever use that they expect to put to it falling within fair use of copy write they are entitled to have access to the material. >> i guess mary, archivist would keep a close eye on them with these valuable materials? >> our archivists and librarians make sure that people properly handle and use the material when it is out for use. >> dr. muhammad where are we now? >> we're in the gene blackwell hutson division. this is many ways the heart and soul of the schomburg library. where people come every day to access the books that make up essentially the store of knowledge that is here. separate from the special collections with manuscripts or rare books, these are books that have been published and have come in and out of libraries but they stay here and think don't leave. >> so this is probably the area, when you think of a library
10:54 am
this is what you may think of? >> this is your traditional library reading room. a combination of computers. we have high-tech, microfilm readers, low-tech microfilm readers and research reference area where people can pull almanacs and other kinds of materials. >> is this besides a research library is this also the research library? >> no. this can function as a quiet place to read a book they can pull from the collection or bring with them but because of the size of our investment in this kind of space there is a branch library that abutts this building 100 feet from where we're standing right now is much bigger in terms of a comfortable, socialable place to basically get a new book or just hang out and read. >> so what do people come here to find? >> yeah. so auburn we're, visiting the
10:55 am
library and any special request of your library auburn nelson is one of our librarians. >> hello. >> hi. what have people been coming in to look for today? >> well variety of things. they might ask for the new york amsterdam news. think of some of the requests for today. sometimes they may be interested in the mallmalcolm x -- malcolm x papers in manuscript division. >> do you get a lot of those requests? regularly you get a lot of those requests? >> regular variety requests. malcolm x is definitely more popular one. currently i know there is a demand for the negro world, universal negro improvement organization. >> that is marcus garvey's organization. >> organization, right. the newspaper for that organization. >> thank you auburn. this, you know a place
10:56 am
fundamentally committed to being able to field any questions covering the african diaspora. it can be tough remembering all the different research questions that people have but we all work together and auburn is on the front lines just like the other librarians that work in this division. this is, as i said earlier, the collection, the book collections for schomburg always focused on intersection of visual arts and print culture and so, this is a collection of haitian art that adorns the walls of this room. at the same time that people are using 21st century tools to do research. and there is one other special thing i should show you. so this is the caption for a body of work done by one of the
10:57 am
most important 20th century artists, aaron douglas, presenting four murals to arthur schomburg here in a work that was completed in 1934 as part of the wpa. >> this is arthur schomburg. >> this is arthur schomburg. >> this is all part of wpa? >> this is wpa. >> aaron douglas is important because why? >> aaron douglas is important because his style of painting and story telling became iconic for the harlem renaissance. in 1934 as part of wpa works around murals this angular and jagged edge way of depicting black people had already been crucial to a lot of print culture coming out of the harlem renaissance in the 1920s. he have went on to spend the rest of his career at fisk university but aaron douglas's depiction of black people, in telling the history through his
10:58 am
art iconically became associated with the harlem renaissance on magazine covers, on book covers so on, so forth. >> that is aspects of negro life. do you have that here in the collection? >> i do. follow me. >> i guess we get to see it. >> yep. these are the four murals. these are the closest things to the schomburg's permanent exhibition. they pretty much stay on the walls. >> all right. khalil muhammad, you gave us a tour. we're out here at corner of 135th and lennox.
10:59 am
not quite as quiet and serene. >> new york, man. the city that never sleeps. >> so what is this building behind us? you see the brick one as well. >> this is the original 1905 branch of the new york public library where the schomburg collection arrived in 1925 and, behind that first floor set of windows is the exhibition hall where we saw the jacob lawrence. this is in many ways the historic home that is the amazing institution today. it is still in use. it is still a critical part of the overall facility and it is home to many treasures that we looked at. >> and the red brick build something also part of yours. harlem hospital over there. >> that's right. >> across the street. khalil muhammad, director of the schomburg center, thank you for your time today. >> thank you peter, great. . .
11:00 am
welcome to this years harlem book fair. it is such a delight to be here yet again in this amazing institution, the schomburg center for research in black culture. i am your director, not your director. it is incredibly important that year after year we come together and assemble in this place for an opportunity to engage the greatest minds in this nation.
11:01 am
to wrestle with the ideas that animate the movement of our time, to really wrestle with the complexity of the world that we live in. and there's no better place than the schomburg center to do that work 490 years of the schomburg center has engaged artists writers, scholars, poets performers in the important work of lifting up culture and history. in using voice to express the vast range of humanity. and in this 90th year we are incredibly proud to yet again host the harlem book fair as an opportunity to lift up work that is critical in a moment of crisis and change. we have panels that will engage discussions about wealth and
11:02 am
finance in post-civil rights america. we have conversations that will look at the history of prejudice and racial science. we will look at the ways in which african-americans have defined their own image and showed the world the beauty within. we will also look at politics in a moment where voting rights, the essential ingredient for citizenship and full participation in american society, it's yet again on life-support in the united states of america. we have some of the leading minds to talk to us about what that path is forward in this moment of tremendous, tremendous struggle. we will also look at health disparities and histories of health inequalities something that is far too important into
11:03 am
many communities that are ravaged by premature death. and, finally, i think it's critically important that we all remember how critical ideas are, how important literacy is in our effort to work together to build bridges, to find consensus to be empowered by a story that is greater than herself. and at this institution i am incredibly proud to say that the people whose stories are about and the schomburg center have helped to expand decade after decade the meaning and practice of democracy. that's what we do. that's what we plan to do and that's what we will discuss today. at this time i want to thank c-span for its continuing support of this event and for live coverage here today. i also want to thank max rodriguez, the founder and created of the harlem book fair.
11:04 am
i want to thank columbia university under the leadership of -- the dean of the school of art at columbia university for her leadership and effort in helping to build a program today that i think will inspire all of you. and, finally, i want to thank rich, he is a professor of english and has been a lead organizer in this event. rich will come forward in just a moment to introduce our panel. and one final word. the staff of the schomburg center has been incredibly gracious and generous in their effort to make today a successful event and i'm incredibly grateful for all other sacrifice and continued commitment to the success of this event. thank you so much for being here today, and i hope that you enjoy it as much as i well. thank you. [applause]
11:05 am
>> good morning, good morning. before i get started want to introduce max would reduce, the founder of the harlem book fair. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you and welcome once again to the harlem book fair, our 17th annual where we call because of the best of a ryder cup the best of our speakers to talk about we as a community how we see ourselves, where we see ourselves going and how we might get there. i want to take a moment to thank our sponsors for the event. c-span of course chambre, columbia university, barnes & noble, collins enterprises, stockholm's enterprise, and the beacon hotel. thank you so much for joining us. we continued expanding the conversation of the harlem book fair. i'm happy to announce that in
11:06 am
october we will produce the harlem book fair midwest regional in kansas city in collaboration with irene in kansas city and with richard, the president of the naacp in kansas city. the conversations about we as a community through the books and the stories we tell continue to expand, i hope you will join us if you're in the area and we look forward to a very exciting 17th annual harlem book fair. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, max rodriguez. i'm from colombia university. it's a pleasure to be here. i will introduce the panel that will launch the harlem book fair. the panel is particularly timely given the crisis but also some
11:07 am
staggering numbers about how the race and poverty in the country, which should be online a national crisis. this panel is called wealth and finance and post averts america come moderated by my colleague at columbia, damon phillips was a professor of business and the codirector at the center of social enterprise. is the author of shaping jazz, book on the emergent and evolution for the market for recorded just been published in top jobs within management and sociology. we are in good hands your containment, take it away. >> first of all thank you rich for your leadership over the years and for the fantastic event. this was a really fun time for me to have this opportunity to moderate this panel. i have really and for me some top scholars and i will introduce them but then we'll
11:08 am
jump into a discussion about the project for the day. i will say a few words in between but really my job is as a moderator is to facilitate the discussion and allow all of us learn from one another but also to get some insight from the fantastic scholars. i will start on the floor in. it's a dalton conley, university professor at nyu, new york university. he holds appointments in the social department, school of medicine and wagner school of public service. these written quite a few books and articles. one in particular which will be a focus for today which is being black, living in the red. next to him is vesla weaver, so it's a professor of political science and african-american studies at the university. provoked -- her book is
11:09 am
arresting citizenship and democratic consequences of american crime control. i'm assuming that she's probably been feeling a lot of reported increased in the past couple of weeks. and then to my immediate right is william tabb, professor emeritus at queens college economics, political science and sociology at the graduate center. again these are fantastic scholars. i shouldn't of an introduction that span multiple fields of perspective as one of the great opportunity we have therefore this dialogue to learn from one another. i wanted to have a conversation, least have maybe four pieces to although the way to relate to one another i'd imagine that they're going to blame. the first is to unpack the title. we have in this title we have wealth, finance, and then post-civil rights america.
11:10 am
first we will unpack the. once we do that i imagine if we haven't already we will discuss the relationship between something like wealth with education, criminal justice, employment, those things. we also want to make sure to unpack in equality and to think about the intersection between race and class and what that means for understanding how wealth, finance and posts of rights america all together. finally, we will and by how we think moving forward what should we think about in terms of the reforms of policy prescriptions. so i was thinking with those, and again you can see how they blend with one another and it also -- i thought it would be great to take advantage of this opportunity to have you all here to talk about those four types
11:11 am
of topics. let me begin with the first question, the first word of the title, wealth. so first especially in the context of inequality by race what do we mean by wealth? i will start with dalton and then we will go on from there. >> when the talk about wealth we have a very broad alluvial definition meaning everything from literally how much money have in the bank to your social connections and cultural capital but really at least when i analyze wealth, i mean something very specific. something distinct from income. if we think of income as a check spectrum and every week or every month, it's kind of like a stream, if of money, the wealth is your bond and it's another term would be net worth. is simply adding up everything you own that you could sell that is liquid innocent and paying off all your debt mortgage, credit card, student loans, whatever that number is.
11:12 am
for many people it's a negative number, we are in the red. for some people it's a positive number. in research that now stands over two decades i'm embarrassed to say, i found that wealth is really e., testing from income or when someone the job is is he really key factor in explaining the ongoing continuation of racial inequality and the post-civil rights era. >> we will get into this more but one of the reasons why i think it's an interesting refocusing on a because it will matter when we talk about policy prescriptions. often in the national discourse these things come income and wealth are often there may be discussions about wealth but not everyone sense of what is being captured and why it matters. one of the things hopefully we can get to it is also a national
11:13 am
discourse around the discussion of what sort of what the research may be saying. the three of you flirt and doing your own work. before doing that i wanted to get a sense of whether that definition of wealth was one which is consistent with what you, vesla and william focus on, or are there other aspects you also bring into play speak with i think that's a very good summary of what wealth is. wealth matters for so many things, including when they get to policy. people of color in this country and all people of color, about 37% of the voting electorate, contribute 1% to financing politics. the koch brothers i themselves do quite well and when you think of where the money comes from and then think about the issues
11:14 am
that concern ordinary people political scientist find that your elected representatives basically don't listen to anybody under the top 1% and less would ordinary voters want happens to be what their major contributors what. otherwise they go with a major contributors. so the lack of wealth for people of color impacts on the policies that they would like to see changed but because they can't by politicians or influence them in the same way. the wealth is crucial in all these ways. also the accumulation of wealth comes from owning assets that rise in value. one of the things we know about how people accumulate wealth is major way for most people of his account of their home. the extent to which black people have historically been denied by the u.s. government as well as
11:15 am
bigoted discriminating real estate people and so on, means black people have not accumulator the wealth in the same way. this is not just a matter of past history. since the collapse of the financial system from the subprime mortgage debacle, the people who were most affected by the subprime mortgage for people of color. and actually middle-class people of color were the ones who lost the most because as economists look at the situation and also our friends in sociology and political science but they found was the banks and the mortgage originators went after people of color, particularly people have been redlined, denied mortgages. the reason there was this change in policy from denying people of color of mortgages of going after them particularly was because the mortgage originators sold the mortgages on. they became derivatives and wall street did all sorts of
11:16 am
magic with them which then collapsed. let the people who sold the mortgages in the first place they got their money up front and they didn't care. they knew especially for people of color that they would be these defaults. people of color defaulted on their mortgages to a much higher extent than the general population. so the denial of access to accumulating wealth is seen in not just real estate but in education and other things we'll be talking about. >> if i could add to that when i think of wealth, i think of a dynamic property one that acts often to a protective mechanism. it offers you. it buffers your ability to endure certain social risk, certain economic risk. so most of us throughout our lifetimes will at some point in door losing a home losing a
11:17 am
job, undergoing a divorce having a loved one fall into economic or financial crisis. having some sort of not necessarily catastrophic circumstance, but have an important life circumstance. and wealth is about buffer, that buffer to other types of vulnerabilities. so often the i'm not an economist i think of it as a living condition. it's something that's going to allow you to in door aspects of life -- and/or aspects of life that regularly happen. and if you don't have it he will not be able to sort of bounce back. >> thank you. this is great because i think it's going to lead us to our other discussions about how this starts to connect to the other aspect of society, of being a citizen, we haven't yet brought in health care but i think that
11:18 am
is also implied by what vesla was just saying. before we do with them, you spoke about towards the end of prime and subprime mortgage differential, and what some of the banks have not also admitted to have participated in. in terms of finance are there other things that rise to that level of prominence when we think about racial inequality? >> there are a number but the general way in which government tries to help people accrue wealth is to give tax benefits of, for instance, the home deduction for your mortgage. most of the home deduction for mortgages go to the very rich people because they've got the big houses. so that if you look at the homes of typical people of color they
11:19 am
are going to be much more modest. many of those people will do the short form and are not itemized. and so that's one area where government programs are not helping working people and especially people of color. others, special treatment of funds that are put away for college education. if you don't have much money you're not putting extra money into these accounts. you don't have the wealth to do it. all of the programs for retirement, 401(k) program. most of us not me i'm fairly wealthy, but most people don't put money into 401(k)s. and when they do that to take it out in those emergencies of illness, divorce and so on. so they don't benefit. so we have a situation where almost all of the programs that
11:20 am
the federal government has to build wealth discriminate in impact, if not in intent against people of color. >> thank you. so we've had now i think we've covered both wealth and finance. the last sort of race and that is post-civil rights america in our title. so the question to all of you is two parts. one is how would you characterize post-civil rights america today? and i imagine that the other part of it which you maybe already thinking, how do we think of post-civil rights america is something which has improved? >> if i could jump in before you and hard before doing this, is i don't accept those civil rights america. the attack on voting rights, the impact on the rights of people
11:21 am
of color not just in the south but in the midwest now in states that were once very progressive, wisconsin, michigan, states where civil rights was sponsored by those governments, those states those governors, those legislatures are now taking away rights. i'm not comfortable speaking of post-civil rights america. i would be interested to know what you guys think. >> i agree with that. and i think no serious academic really use that term anymore, other than a strawman sort of category. that it would ask the question of what has changed and what hasn't right, what is truly different from what is new and what is continuous across our history. a couple of things. that jump out with regard to wealth and income inequality.
11:22 am
the first is the rise in income based residential segregation. most people don't realize this but blacks actually used to live in fairly similar circumstances. poor blacks lived around wealthy blacks. today, income segregation has jumped much more up on blacks than among other groups. so that something that is a truly disdain. the second thing i think is maybe distinct, maybe continuous is that the levels even as inequality across racial groups has narrowed wealth inequality and income inequality among the blacks has grown. again, most people don't realize this because many of the national outlets many of the magazines you read in newspapers was a income inequality the
11:23 am
fastest rate of growth in income inequality is among blacks within blacks. so that something that is truly distinct across time. the other aspect is come and she mentioned this in noting the economic power often bleeds into political power. those two are very connected. one of the things i'm quite worried about in my own work is what happens when interracial income inequality gets so large that the best off blocks are no longer concerned with the plight of the worse off blocks. we are beginning to see and social service and the like that though allegiance to the racial group is actually quite strong among the wealthiest blacks. when you ask them do you support welfare, do you support increasing spending on public schools, do you support increase
11:24 am
government activism on a host of not explicitly racial issues, their support has waned. it has waned compared to wealthy counterparts back in the '80s. that's a new political stance and one that i find troubling because it means that the worst off blocks as conditions have deteriorated over time and is income growth has not kept pace have lost crucial coalitional partners in the struggle for class and race-based equality. if they no longer can lean on affluent blacks to help them and to support their policy preferences. we are in a really bad place and we are in a new place politically than we have been pretty used to be that political scientists is come used to puzzle that class variation within the black community did
11:25 am
not, did not predict political variation, right? affluent blacks were supported the same thing that the least off counterparts to get those are think three, there are many more, but three of the biggest i think it changes that we should be troubled by. >> before getting to dalton, let me ask a question like this. how can we reconcile, most people this is a surprising type of statistic that how do we reconcile that with the understanding that there's this decline like middle-class? so you talked about sort of inequality between those are the most well-off and those of the lease. we are offering the to decline middle-class to but how do we take all of that together and understand something of a more coherent kind of story about what's happening? this is for anybody.
11:26 am
these are, there's a statistical fact but there's also an heir to the i think evidence around the shrinking black middle class student the middle-class has been hollowed out. the simple answer to that is i'll give you one example. because we're talking about wealth today if you look at one of our best measures of wealth across longitudinally, back in the '90s exactly 50% just under 50% of just under half of blacks and latinos had no assets whatsoever nothing. no dollars to name into a bank account, nothing, no rainy day funds, no retirement account, no assets. today the exact same proportion is true. half of blacks have no assets but if you look at the best off blocks, way back in the '90s
11:27 am
almost no blacks and latinos had the top wealth, meaning over $250,000 in the bank account. over $250,000 of assets. today that number is one in 10. i say that you said that while you have stagnation or kind of spaces at the bottom come he's actions in progress at the top. how we interpret that come we can celebrate the top at least growing marginally or we can say it's a really bad thing that the bottom has sure that as the top has grown. >> i think that the growing inequality in any slice of some slice of the populace would look at you are going to see rising inequality. it is not uniquely african-american phenomenon. it's a sight of the larger rise of inequality. if we look at back in 1994 when
11:28 am
i was in graduate seminar sitting at a table of race by income and then showed the wealth love. what blew me away was even at the same level income you talk about unfiltered $100,000 a year or $50,000 a year or at the poverty line from there was huge gaps in wealth. we have haven't mentioned it at all yet. over the course of the last 20 years, back in 1984 is the virtue we would have good data for wealth. we can't know for sure how much better or worse it was before the 1960s. but it's been pretty stable around 10 cents on the dollar. typical african-american them has one-tenth the assets of the meeting or typical white family. that's a conservative estimate. this is a medium, not an average which eliminates the effect of
11:29 am
very, very wealthy people that are disproportionately white that brings up the white average. at some point i think in the '90s it with up to 12 cents on the dollar and pound it since the it varies a lot with the stock market report-remarkable since the financial crisis is a lot of us thought in 2007 inequality had gotten so high that it could reach the same level of 1929 in terms of their share of the top 1%. there's many measures but that's just one of them. when the crisis happened it seemed like it was almost a natural law, things have gotten too top heavy, they're going to tip over. i guess expecting history to repeat itself many of us thought that there would be destruction of wealth at the top that they would be a reduction of inequality just like the ones between 1929-1931, the greatest
11:30 am
drop in inequality in the history of the country which kind of continued at a slower rate through what others have called the great moderation during the middle of the century. but we didn't get fat. we got t.a.r.p., toxic asset relief program and other bailouts of the banks and aig et cetera. and instead inequality has continued to rise and that's reflected also in the black wide gap which has continued to rise since 2007. why did we get a bailout unlike in 1929? the irony is because a much greater proportion of americans are invested through their 401(k) and through their college savings account for the kids or what have you come are invested for being in the stock market or so to save their pennies they had to rescue the
11:31 am
pound of the very elite rich. and so we've got more of the same can increasing any questions the crisis rather than a rethinking of a leveling off. so i think given the importance of wealth to other things like education, you already mentioned voting. i think i've criminal justice is in your area where wealth has not been tested yet but for health education for job prospect watcher comes wealth is one of the most important predictors really the second most important predictor after your parents education level whether their college graduates or have graduate degrees, that this, i personally think of wealth as one of the route not to minimize criminal justice asia or health issues or a things but i think wealth is the most extreme even one-tenth
11:32 am
ratio and really critical issue that's not as much in the public policy issues terms of racial equality of opportunities that should be. >> i know this is one of the areas you've done great work on. if you're making the case for health and central to this conversation, how would you make that particular -- >> for health or wealth? >> as relates to the wealth inequality. >> we know that there's a really strong correlation between social position, whether you measure that by your educational level or your wealth or your occupation and your health. literally how long you live. we also know that there's a huge race gap in life expectancy in other diseases. we also know that financial
11:33 am
crises tend to lead to negative health effects and we know that negative, probably more important negative health events leads them is number one cause of bankruptcy in america now. we have just had finally the last couple of years the affordable care act go into effect. it really could be one of the most important policies that everybody is going to insurance supposedly got a passenger americans will have insurance that will hopefully stop the health care crises from being one of the biggest wealth trainers and crisis you're talking about earlier that destroyed low wealth, uninsured families best eggs. so hopefully that will attenuate but we don't know yet. >> this actually leads us i think into the discussion
11:34 am
between wealth and other things. health and one of them. education and citizenship criminal justice. i will sort of say i have noted that there's i think a motion to strike post-civil rights america on this may be just strike post and that sort of second the motion. >> i just add to the very good summary what you are in the langston hughes auditorium and i was thinking of those of you who grew up reading the langston hughes as i do remember he may take years in a defense plant and he did hard physical labor. the health issue is tied to the kind of work people do. i'm retired professor -- professor. i'm in good health but i didn't do hard physical labor. most people of color to really hard physical labor and their
11:35 am
worn-out a lot sooner so that the efforts to raise the social security beyond 65 because they want to do that because they think people are living healthy and later. but not all people are living longer. not all people are living healthier. i thought that was an important point to make because that's another area of inequality. just people being worn-out through how they have to earn their living. i just wanted to add that. >> so vesla can you work on citizenship and criminal justice. how do you do your research? how have you seen the relationship between wealth inequality and -- >> i mean, i think we were talking a financial instrument earlier. one of the biggest things that is not on the public radar. it is not a political savings right now but it is a huge asset trainer.
11:36 am
it is a mechanism family dependency that really hurts low-income and middle-income communities come is legal financial obligations. so it's not just that blacks are more likely to get bad subprime loans, to pay more for their mocha kiss combat more student debt, more medical debt, to be more unbanked it's also the case that they showed a big burden of legal financial debt. in other words, when you come into contact with the criminal justice system, you are tagged with what's kind of in a properly called user fees. so anything from room and board in jails to probation, fees, all kinds of victim restitution and the numbers were strike you they are not quite as well researched as they should be, but to use
11:37 am
the work of some of our sociological colleagues, the average black person that exits the injustice involved has $17,000 in legal financial obligation, which is crippling for even folks who have money. so i think that's one piece of the kind of hidden wealth constructive mechanism. i think another hidden wealth destroyer also has to do with the work of devon fergus. and just by virtue of what zip code you live in, what neighborhood you call home and you're going to be shouldered with higher auto insurance premiums. you will be paying more to lenders for your house. you have a bevy of different things that mean that you're making him your bank more for goods and services. you're paying more just to look
11:38 am
at daily life. now, the thing that i really want to get into this conversation because one of the things as a political scientist bothers me about the national conversation on wealth inequality is it's often just statistics. blacks are so much further behind and asset accumulation. what is it about their behavior that is leading them to be in a situation? i want to talk about the policies and practices of various levels of government and private sector actors that drive those processes. on my mind today is -- we have this hidden history of a moment when the nation cemented the white middle class cemented affluence, helped them get educational loans, helped them by their first houses. and also a moment where we
11:39 am
cemented blacks that having access to those things. i've never seen somebody run some numbers on this but how does that trickle across a generation. of not having access to those instruments of financial security. >> if i can jump in your i can tell you some numbers. the economist says 20% of lifetime inheritance is attributable to past generations. that does me just direct inheritance. one ticket graduates with zero student debt and another kid graduates with 100,000 student debt. larry summers put it at 80%. i'm going to come like those are all really find researchers so i will say 50%. that's what's really interesting about wealth as opposed to education. that it really directly
11:40 am
literally picks up to bequeath but a past injustices and past inequities and will take longer even if we had the right policies can not the wrong policies, they would still take a couple generations at least to close the gap. i think it is the most daunting statistic. >> i almost elect we need to get away from that language, like the vocabulary of the gap in disparity feels very be populated to me. it feels very apolitical and ahistorical. it feels like we are just statistics walking around, just numbers. i have a colleague who has run experiments and he asks people to think about certain images. what images do you think of when his attorney inequality? people point to graphs and figures and statistics. then he says what do you think
11:41 am
of when you think of the term unemployment? and they point to people, groups of people. i think we need to shift the vocabulary away from the gap, disparity, inequality and more purposeful language, that this was a policy driven phenomenon across all of this government come across the decades. it is continually remade. it has and currently feedback effects and that it's not simply well i didn't you like to get a bank account. well i didn't pay my car loan. on time. there's all kinds of mechanisms that have to do with policy choices, explicit policy choices. that's not in our national conversation. guess what. it's hard to start a movement. we have a great movement around policing right now because we can point to explicit practices and policy choices.
11:42 am
wind you are talking about gaps in disparity, you don't have a villain. there's no, something, to move against the it's all about you just need to get yourself bank. >> i get to beckham so what's the alternative? what is the hashtag or the way to get people to think about people and not some line graph when we talk about this issue? >> i mean, i don't have the answer. good question. >> i mostly think about white people, not black people. because most white people think that they are discriminated against and they are discriminated against more than black people are discriminated against in this country. the polls are just overwhelming that they think special treatment for blacks and blacks get more than whites do. so that these liberal discussions we have about blacks
11:43 am
being discriminate against them most of americans, that's nonsense to them. blacks are getting special treatment, money, education things are being thrown at them. my kids don't have that are in white america it looks very different. that white america votes conservative, it's getting more and more reactionary it is getting more reaction because their lives are getting getting harder. effects of black people's lives are getting harder still because they don't see the point. i think that tremendously important. i want to comment also on, not just come and happy to talk about the past. i'm happy to talk about slavery and the fact that capitalism in america was built on the work of black people, the black people are the wealth of america, that at the end of the civil war started, 62% of our exports was kind at the new york banks their money off of slaves although the cotton trade, that
11:44 am
the new england mills were built on time. the wealth of america comes from black people. you can trace it all the way through and the treatment, but if you look at now in a history continues that when ferguson came into the news and michael brown was shot by a white policeman, the thing that struck me was not just another black man was killed by a white cop but the way ferguson works, ferguson is a suburb of st. louis. st. louis, the whites left because they moved to all white suburbs. they moved to small suburbs that are now not economically viable. ferguson is a heavily black but it used to be all white. the whites who controlled ferguson paid account budget out of black people by addressing him because their tail light is out, putting them through the
11:45 am
court system charging all of the seas. those towns around st. louis and that's not the only city it's true, make a big chunk of their city budget off of black people through fines jail these and all the rest of that. this is the reality of the. i think a conversation of this kind that works really well for liberals and progressive people about how the system is that there has got to be extended to think about how white oppression still works and how whites don't understand any of this. they think they're the ones being abused. i just had to say that, i'm sorry. >> just to add to that it's amazing to me how often those practices duty abstraction above and limited wealth that from poor communities. we don't have the conversation of what's going on there and the subprime lending, and the
11:46 am
current national economic condition. we need to bring those two conversations together. people read ferguson as being sort of an anomaly aberrational outlier corrupt you know, government. but those kind of practices i think are lined up with the practice of extracting wealth through legal financial obligations from extracting wealth through greater mortgage payments go through zip code profiling. they are all we don't tend to think of them that way or talk about them that way. so that what emerges is a picture black communities that yes, they are hit over here by corrupt municipal budgeting office and yes, they are hit over here by the subprime lending and yes they are hit over by the auto industry charging them higher. but we don't have a language for discussing all of that kind of systematic policy driven extraction of wealth that
11:47 am
regularly occurs in the life that makes people, it makes it difficult for people to be financially responsible. not to mention how incredibly -- >> we have covered some criminal injustice and health, and voting behavior. we haven't really touched on education or employment that i wanted to give you a chance either come from the research or going from your respective fields, sort of give a sense of also how we can do that if you think about the right language is the sort of capture this paper we haven't even covered all of the particulars of implications as well. so first on the matter of education. curious to get your thoughts on how when one thinks about the educational crisis that we have,
11:48 am
how an understanding of differences and wealth, how that helps us also understand the issue of education. in particular one of the things i wanted to bring up, and this could be said i guess about crime from which i'm sure you have it in this debate about the what is causing what, right? there's certainly people who argue that education is a chief cause of wealth differences. i'm sure that argument has been made and it should people have also made argument that that relates to crime as well. i guess my question is into force. one is first to think about the relationship between wealth and education but also what do we know about how one of them affects the other? >> you are absolutely right that there is a bidirectional relationship. obviously, achieving a high
11:49 am
level of education helps you in the labor market to earn a higher wage and that of course helps a team of wealth. we also know that if we look at if you just compare blacks and whites in terms of, or any other group, in terms of likelihood of graduating from high school, actually there's no real gap in black-white high school graduation rates. that is the quality of education budget is in terms of graduation rate. you go to college and you find that that's where educational inequality at least in terms of complete degree really starts to emerge. if you choose to do that comparison like it in in the newspaper and to talk about dropout rates or rates i pressure you are comparing apples and oranges because unlike many other defend countries, colleges are both
11:50 am
expensive, four year college in particular. what i found in my own research is about we need to the apples to apples comparison, that is going to dedicate is coming from a family with the same provincial education and wealth level, you have to do both. both of those matters but nothing else really matters. then you find that a college graduation rates from a four year degree program by age 25 are the same. it's not rocket science because we know that college costs money. even if we are talking about a state school where the tuition is low and that is increasingly rare these days for four years institutions because getting squeezed, you select of living expenses and, in fact, holding down jobs and taking out loans and so forth. one of the major causes of folks not finishing college at all work on time.
11:51 am
so will the israeli parental wealth, i mean this key to launching a successful or ensuring a successful post secondary educational career. and also for job searches and that kind of period of extended adolescence after college and starting a career you find that wealth of parental wealth matters. the unequal outcome of the previous generation becomes the unequal starting positions for the next generation. that's sort of the cycle that i observed and education is key in the cycle but it itself is affected by the prior generation generation. >> things are changing that not only are the public universities and i've taught my entire career and different public universities, and the government of giving far less
11:52 am
money for education, for the colleges and universities. this means tuition goes up and the kids have got to come up with more money and they are taking out loans. they are taking out huge loans at a time when the jobs they did when they get out of college, if they get a job are not paying enough to pay back the loans. these kids will be in debt for the rest of their lives and the parents will be in debt because when the kid defaulted on a loan that is cosigned by the parents, their parents are then liable for that long. the banks got congress because the banks seem to have some difference with congress, to prevent default on student loans, even when the the students in no way can pay back the loan. so you've got this new chattel system that you are intended for life out of college loans that are not payable because you don't have jobs that earned enough to pay them back.
11:53 am
the other thing about wealthy parents is they understand financing. both working-class parents and those young people who have no idea of the dead are taking on and the consequences of that debt are taking on these huge loans and they're creating a right of policy with a not be able to buy homes were and what if kids can't get married, don't want to have kids because they don't -- they want to bring to get up right and they can't afford. you've got a system where because the public sector is being defined, because tax cuts are going to the wealthy, the government has a structural deficit, the difference between basic expenditures and what it takes in in taxes, there's a huge gap. what the demand is more cuts in spending, and the spinning they were cut off the spending that benefits for people and especially people of color. this is different. this is not always been this way
11:54 am
through the '60s. with progressive programs. we have a different political situation. so it's not just the development of education and costs and so on, but it's the politics that is intensifying the suffering that is going with that that needs to be pointed out. out. >> if i can jump in. i think we really have an to unpack the college costs or college loans crisis that really has reached a crisis. there's different components. number one, a two-year degree means very little in the economy. increasingly knowledge-based technical economy. a few need a four year degree if you're going to make it worthwhile to bar the money. the absolute worst outcome to berkeley for for the nephews and not get that degree. employers care that you actually have a degree. about the people end up in dire
11:55 am
straits because they bar of ottoman and they never actually got a degree. and talk about the wealth extraction industry we have the fact that for profit colleges can get can get guaranteed student loans. is basically a giant vacuum mechanism. i know the obama administration is trying to do something right now but a for-profit colleges have very strong allies in congress. pat toomey scenes the most tragic thing. the decrees from those schools are not worth the decrees from any state university in the country. and they cost a lot more. they are exactly like subprime aggressive lenders in advertising ever from the city
11:56 am
subway to late-night tv and so forth and making promises about the value of decrees which is not true. it's really at extraction mechanism of the public funds for private shareholders. i think that needs to be really on the political radar as well. starting to be a little bit but hopefully very quickly. >> there's a great book about that. and just basically if you look at the racial demographics of who is going to the for-profit colleges, is largely black women who end up with a degree, as you said, that doesn't mean as much. returns and wealth are not as great. they are saddled with debt spent a lot of these for-profit companies are owned investment banks. this is not taking any stuff. they send their people to welfare offices and to black
11:57 am
churches to drum up business line two people about what the benefits of this private education, people pointed out. the other thing about it is that the government pays for it. you touched on that but it's tremendously important to legally these for-profit colleges can get up to 90% of the income from the government. and they do. album is coming from taxpayers it been that debt goes to the students, people of color. so we lose at both ends. and it is again is wealth extraction that targets people of color just so heavily. so in education. the other thing at the top in the ivy schools you are not seeing very many people from the bottom of the income
11:58 am
distribution. you are single legacies of people whose parents went to yale and columbia. my daughter is now teaching at columbia. it's a very different kind of situation that a public university. what it takes to get through college, had the privilege of some people have of living in dorms and having enough money for says other kids, these differences are just a man's. and become from a total system. i think what i get out of our discussion from what my college on the panel have said it's just the totality of this oppressive extractive system is huge. and i know we don't have much time that you want to talk about what to do about it, i think looking forward to the panel
11:59 am
later on the politics later in the day which i look forward to being at, but perhaps we might say some things about that. >> so let's move to that discussion. i will ask a couple sort of specific theoretical motivating questions but then maybe we can get into some of the details around it. i'm just going to throw out a hypothetical let's take a genius appears in front of us and says i will grant you two things. one is about if you take it policy to eliminate, that will be illuminated. the other is -- [inaudible] those are the two you get. what would you say? >> i'll go first. i would use to a laminations. i believe the positive. i would eliminate any sort of public funding whether it is loan guarantees or pell grants
12:00 pm
or what have you going for a pro--- for-profit colleges and tried to squeeze them try. second i would cap the home mortgage income deduction. the interest deduction. because i think was said earlier, you know, we believe in homeownership as a coach. goes back to jefferson, but there's no reason that we should be subsidizing you become as much home, mansions up on mansions, even second homes. ..

18 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on